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Nantwich say Trophy tie with Reds goes ahead PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Monday, 30 November 2020

nantwich town.pngNantwich have just announced that their FA Trophy tie with Workington will go ahead next Tuesday (December 8).

There has been some delay and confusion on when the NPL will resume playing, following last week’s Government announcement on various tiers.

Indeed clubs have a virtual meeting arranged for tomorrow night to discuss the latest situation.

Tonight, however, Nantwich announced that they will welcome back spectators to the Optimum Pay Stadium in their home FA Trophy first round game against Workington.

It follows the decision by Government to lift the current national lockdown and allow up to 2,000 fans to attend outdoor sports events in areas in Tier 2.

A spokesman for Nantwich Town said: “We are delighted to confirm that “live” Football with spectators, will be returning to The Optimum Pay Stadium, starting with an exciting FA Trophy first round proper tie against Workington.

“Spectator numbers are limited and all the necessary Covid safety procedures and restrictions will be in place.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house, watch some great live football and to cheer the Dabbers onto the next round in a safe and socially distanced environment!”

Tickets are on sale now via the club’ s online ticketing system https://nantwichtownfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets

Tags: Dabbers, Nantwich Town, Optimum Pay Group, spectators, Workington

But Nantwich chairman Jon Gold (pictured right) doesn’t know when his club will be able to return to league action – because so few teams are allowed supporters.

The Dabbers will be in tier 2 when the country comes out of lockdown this week, and so will be permitted up to 600 fans at their games.jon gold.png

Their first game back will be in the FA Trophy at home to Workington but beyond that, he says the return of the Northern Premier League remains unclear because so many clubs are in tier 3 areas and so not allowed supporters.

Gold says clubs at that level simply can’t afford to play behind closed doors. Nantwich and their fellow Northern Premier League clubs will discuss the issue at a meeting on Tuesday evening.

He said: “At the moment the league is in a bit of uncertainty sadly because only five teams in the Northern Premier Division, including ourselves, can actually play with supporters.

“The rest of the teams are all in tier 3 areas and, at the moment, the ruling is if you are in tier 3 then you cannot have spectators.

“While it is welcome that football is returning, at our level, with the best will in the world, teams simply cannot play because without supporters there is no income at all.

“So, there have been meetings all weekend between the league, the FA and the government. I believe nothing is resolved yet but there is a further meeting (on Tuesday evening) of which we are all involved, to try to hopefully find a workable solution.

“We have to adhere to the rules and keep everybody safe but at the same time, if teams in Manchester area, the North East, Yorkshire and Stafford can’t play with supporters, it creates a problem.

“The league can’t function without supporters.”

The Northern Premier League and divisions below have been suspended during lockdown. Gold told Cheshire Live at the start of the suspension that he had reservations about whether the league could finish in its current format because of the fixture backlog. His club, for example, have only played six league games.

A month on and he says those doubts remain.

He added: “We are in unprecedented times and just have to try to find the best possible solution for everybody. Hopefully there is a bit more clarity.

“For instance, for the Northern Premier League, if Manchester drops from tier 3 to 2 in a couple of weeks, that would be a game changer because they could all play with supporters. Albeit that would be at a reduced level, of 600, but at our level that is workable for most teams.”

In the meantime, he has every sympathy with any rival club who says they can’t re-start their league season without supporters.

He added: “It’s not just the players’ wages but also the coach travel. If there is no income how do you pay for that? The coach travel itself, because you have to do it safely, is a big expense.”

 




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